Sourced by Sam

You’re newly engaged and with great excitement start to collect your ideas for your wedding. And suddenly you have a thousand and one images, with no cohesive look yet to emerge and you’re feeling overwhelmed! Rather than spoil the planning process with angst and tension, call in a professional to help you. This where Sam of Sourced by Sam is your styling and planning angel. With vast experience she can distill your ideas down to core elements that will truly reflect you as a couple and deliver you the wedding of your dreams. Not only can she style your wedding, she is also able to plan your whole wedding, or provide just a Bump In only service – just take your pick to suit your needs.

Where are you based?

My car! (jokes) we’re a little bit of a traveling circus.

Our home is in Bowral, the beautiful Southern Highlands but in Sydney every week for work. So lucky to have the best of both worlds.

How long have you been an event stylist and planner?

3 fantastic years.

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Image by Lindy Goodwin

How does your previous Interior Design career help you with your present profession?

The biggest skill I gained through Interior Design that I find vital for events is space planning, especially in open spaces like a marquee, park or warehouse. Having the eye for colour is also essential when putting together the theme, prop & furniture selection, florals etc.

What excites you about event planning and styling?

Every event and couple is new and original, I’ve never done the same theme at the same venue so with a different couple comes a freshness and excitement.

How would you describe your style?

My personal style is country and really organic but with events I love to work with more of a classic, clean look with an abundance of greenery and stand out lighting.

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Image courtesy of Sourced by Sam

What packages do you offer to the bridal couple?

I don’t have set prices or offerings, I’ve found versatility and flexibility to be key so custom packages are created for each couple to suit their budget and event requirements. The most popular ‘package’ is prop & furniture sourcing/hire and then to style and coordinate the day.

Last year I introduced a new offering; The Bump In. I literally just set up what I’m given and brides are loving this! There’s obviously a real, practical need for it which is great to help in that way.

Please describe the process you go through to help a couple style and plan their wedding?

Once we E-meet I get them to send through a link to their Pinterest, Instagram or send through some visual references of what they like and roughly envisage the day. So when we meet onsite for our consultation I can look into how their vision can be bought to life in that space.

From there I get creative with some concepts and put together a custom styling proposal which basically becomes the styling bible for parties to go off – great tool for consistency between all suppliers involved!

The styling proposal puts forward a cohesive look with selections for flowers, lighting, prop & furniture hire. I make sure every idea is do-able at the location and fits within the couple’s budget – it’s 100% realistic and not ever crazy ideas and pretty pictures for the sake of it.

How do you narrow down all the ideas into one cohesive look?

I’m one of those people that gets overwhelmed at a cafe if the menu is too big – so I like to eliminate too much choice 🙂 Brides usually come to me with 1 billion ideas and a Pinterest page with 3-10 completely different looks… I pick ONE – harsh but effective.

I’ll encourage not just what I personally like but the look that I feel best reflects the couple and works within the event space.

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Image courtesy of Sourced by Sam

What is your favourite part of the whole styling and planning process?

The very beginning! Putting together the styling proposal for each couple is ALWAYS great fun. It can be quite time consuming sourcing the right props & furniture that fit within the budget but I love sending it through and seeing how excited each couple gets; its something tangible they can hang onto and share with their family and bridal party!

Please describe some fresh creative looks you’ve seen lately?

I’m totally crushing on Lizzy from Spell Designs wedding at The Grove in Byron Bay, relaxed vibes and styling. I loved seeing a bohemian theme with a subdued palette – usually it’s bright, eclectic, colourful – this was rather serene set on the greenest grass with a white tee pee, low communal timber tables with throws and cushions – very organic.

With your knowledge of the events industry, what are the key ingredients for a fun event?

Music – I’d always recommend a great band that gets everyone on their feet over a DJ or iPod playing over a speaker.

Food – If possible, banquet style dining opposed to alternative drops – it just adds more interaction and variety.

Post Ceremony/Pre Reception Drinks – far out this 2 hour period can be problematic. I’ve been a guest many times where the bridal party leave for photos and guests are left feeling awkward, making small talk, freezing and starving fighting every guest like an angry seagull for the next round of canapés to emerge. I encourage couples to really think about this time; make sure guests are warm, there’s seating, perhaps a band, food making station, wine tasting – anything interactive – lawn games are a little over done now.

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Image by Lindy Goodwin

Five tips for bridal couples to consider when planning their wedding:

Set a Budget: Setting a budget straight off the bat will save you time, avoid disappointment and keep your expectations realistic. It’s also something you should give each supplier straight up to help them with their quoting and it really helps to break it down into categories; Flowers $5K, Catering $15K, Styling $7K etc.

Choose the Right Venue: Ensure the venue can accommodate the style of the event, you like the food, there is a solid wet weather option – ask a million questions, they’ll love it!

Do your Research: whether it’s the venue, catering, band, photographer, the town of the venue – whatever it is, look into their previous work, photographs, reviews, etc.

Be Flexible: control freaks beware – unfortunately not every single detail is going to go exactly according to plan, don’t set a standard of perfection as it’s unrealistic. Being calm, relaxed and trusting in your suppliers should alleviate much unnecessary stress.

Wet Weather Plan: PLEASE! No matter where or what time of year, always have one place for both ceremony and reception.

Do you have some styling ‘do’s and don’t’s’ that you can give to brides and grooms?

DO create an environment you’re comfortable in and reflects your personal style as a couple.

DON’T ask friends or family to make or set up things they don’t have experience doing.

DO plan your styling for the day and the night (feature lighting will create magic in the dark).

DON’T over style! You want the day to feel natural and not have anything take away from your spotlight. Also ensure there’s not too much clutter on tables to help with food & beverage service.

DO whatever it is you love and not just whatever seems to be en trend.

How do you keep your ideas for each event fresh and individual?

I suffer from inspiration overload as I draw from so many different places, so always ready to try something new with a couple. As well as events I have my hand in interior design, furniture, flowers & food so I’m constantly full of fresh ideas.

What trends are you seeing on the horizon for weddings?

I’m actually seeing DIY fade out, I was hearing of way too many wedding fails of things not going to plan and crafty mishaps. I think people are beginning to realise you can’t do everything yourself, get your mum to do flower arrangements or have your bridesmaids make a ceremony backdrop! It’s great to see less fuss and couples revert to more classic concepts.

Jo Batholomew - Sourced by Sam

Image by Jo Bartholomew

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time? My son is 10 months, so spare time is a distant memory right now but am loving this season of life and grateful to be able to work as well. We get to the beach at every chance possible.

Do you have a favourite place to visit for a short break?

Byron Bay! The lifestyle, beaches, food, weather, people – it’s the best.

Thank you Sam for sharing your story. With such great advice all gleaned from long experience – you can’t go wrong! To find out more about Sourced by Sam visit the website.

Headshot courtesy of Sourced by Sam.